With the ongoing shift to smartphones in Japan, mobile flea-market apps have been getting a fair bit of attention recently. Fril (fril.jp), Mercari (mercari.jp), and Mom’s Market (maifuri.jp) all stand out in this space as sellers of second-hand fashion and general goods, but newcomer A2mato aims to please a more specific market: the otaku (geek) segment.

A2mato is for sellers and buyers of anime and game-related goods, including cosplay (costume play) items, games, manga and idol-related products. Existing auction or fleamarket websites in the same niche can be expensive with transaction fees as high as 30 percent of sales. But A2mato only charges 5.25 percent.

If that tempts enough users, the app has the potential to create a rich community of subcuture fans. Unlike some of the flea-market apps, A2mato can also be enjoyed as an app and as a webstore.


Music app invites you to sing along

Whenever you hear a song that you like but don’t know what it is, or can’t remember its name, chances are you’ll try an app like Shazam or Soundhound to find out. Moya-uta Kensaku Joysound similarly identifies songs from both music and humming. However, coming from King, the company behind karaoke system Joysound, it also offers lyrics and allows you to register the song to karaoke systems via your smartphone. So, you not only get to find out what you’re listening to, but you can sing along to it yourself.

Moya-uta Kensaku Joysound can be downloaded for free on both iTunes and Google Play.


Skinnier and lighter power

At the end of last year, a Shibuya-based Magrex released its iPhone 5s/5 Ultra Slim Battery Case MB09. Unlike typical cases that sport a battery, this one is particularly thin and light. Weighing only 74 g and measuring just 14 mm in thickness, it won’t change the look of your phone or occupy too much of your pocket space.

The 2600mAh battery takes roughly five to six hours to get a full charge, and pressing the power button will let you know how much remaining battery power you have via a set of four LED lights. Since the case itself is rubber, your phone is also well-protected.

The MB09 is available in black and white and can be purchased on Amazon for ¥5,980.


One stop for printing needs

Whatever resolutions you decided on for the year 2014, getting new business cards might help you start things off fresh. Raksul is an online printing service that started back in 2009, and after a website overhaul last year, now allows customers to compare various print products from 37 printing services.

What sets Raksul apart from much of its competition is its affordable pricing. For example, 100 full-color, double-sided printed business cards costs only ¥500 (which the company claims is an “industry low”). Ideal for small and new businesses. Printing is also not limited to business cards — you can also create flyers, stickers, coffee mugs and even T-shirts.

Raksul supports different payment methods, including credit cards, bank transfers, cash via convenience stores (for purchases over ¥5,000) and by invoice for enterprise users.


Take a quick scan at the Photo Reco

Scanners are notoriously bulky, making the Photo Reco portable computer-free scanner already quite the convenience for small businesses and homes — but it also has the added advantage of being able to save data straight to an SD card or smartphone over wi-fi. Not only this, but you can share scans on social networks or export it to other tools, such as Dropbox or Evernote, with the push of a button.

Ideal for smaller documents, such as business cards, photos, letters and A4 documents, the Photo-Reco costs around ¥30,000 and needs a dedicated wi-fi app if you want to use it with your smartphone. It works for tablets as well, as long as you’re running with iOS6.0+ or Android 4.0+.


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